Updated: Aug 25, 2020
From singing on The Late Late Show with James Corden to releasing his latest EP 'Reset' at the end of last year. I had the chance to interview rising star Billy Lockett.
Firstly, what made you get into the music scene?
I really like writing songs and it’s just something I wanted to do even if I could not do it if I tried. It’s kind of just happened and I’ve been playing for years – since I was like 8 – so I just love this job.
Who were your inspirations whilst growing up and what inspires you to write your music?
There is a guy called Einaudi who is an Italian composer and he was the first thing that really got me. Also my dad bought me up on the likes of Dylan, Nick Drake, Cat Stevens and loads of male singers/song-writers – Neil Young and many singers/song writers like story tellers and I think that kind of made me want to say something in life.
This is your first night of your tour – are you looking forward to the rest of it and what can fans expect?
I’m really looking forward to it, it’s nice to be headlining for once and I always love playing Southampton. It’s nice that every time I come here the crowd gets bigger and bigger. I love this venue, weirdly I just love the vibe of everything here. I think most importantly I just want everybody to feel like they are sitting in my living room and it’s really relax, so it’s not so everyone let’s get crazy and party. Let’s just have a nice time and listen to me chat some rubbish and sing some songs.
During the writing process, do you start with the lyrics then instrumental or is it the other way around?
It’s normally the other way around, always every time. I think the only song that I started the lyrics was ‘Fading into Grey’ which has been one of my biggest songs – maybe I should be doing it that way more. But most of the time I come up with some chords, then a melody and then the lyrics come last. Afterwards, we kind of decide what we are going to write about and try and make it fit.
Across the summer, you did a range of festivals – what would you say your favourite one was?
I think my favourite was probably Latitude just cause its such a hippy vibe and the sun was shining and there was a massive crowd with all my friends there. It felt like if I had a Groundhog Day that would be it. It was one of the best days in my life and it was really nice. I also did Isle of Wight which was really fun mainly because it was so unexpected – I didn’t really think I get many people there but it ended up really busy and it was such a big stage.
Who would be your dream collaborations if you ever wanted to do one?
My dream collaboration would probably be Bon Iver, I think we could do something great together or maybe James Blake. I think someone who is like an electronic version of me or maybe even like Hot Chip or LCD Sound System; something like that. Something really strange that I could turn into a ballad.
You released your first EP ‘Burn it Down’ in 2015 and went on to support the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Lana Del Rey. What has it been like for you as an artist since then?
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind really, since the Lewis tour everything kicked off and he really helped me a lot and he still does. I think with this kind of thing, you just have to take it as it comes really and try not to let everything else sort of get in the way of you just making sure that its actually just about writing a nice song and trying to say something that has a meaning or message to it. Everything else, all the industry and the management is something you step away from which is sometimes easier said than done.
Recently you released your latest EP ‘Reset’ - what was that like for you and what has the reaction been like?
It’s been crazy, that has actually changed my life. That is sort of the reason this tour is happening, and this is my favourite EP. It’s just nice when you’re doing something you always think this is really good, but when you put it out, nothing like happens and you think you were wrong. But with this it was nice to know that I was right, and everyone is on the same page as me and I can’t wait. Almost all the songs on that EP I’ve never played live before until today. This will be the first time I’ve ever played three of the songs live so I can’t wait. I love the fact everyone is into it and the reaction has been mind blowing. It’s really great!
One of your standout moments last year was singing on the The Late Late Show with James Corden – how did that happen and what was the experience like?
It was mental, the whole thing is mental even hanging out with James Corden all day was ridiculous. It was brilliant and it was my first ever thing to do in America like that. Literally landed and went and did the show, haven’t even done a gig in America before and luckily James really supported it and is now a big fan. He’s a really a good guy to have on your side. It’s weird because he didn’t need to book me, I was no where near. I think 1975 was after me and Billie Eilish was next, it was like what am I doing here. It was a great experience and America is a weird place, but I love it and looking forward to going back soon.
And finally, what can we expect in the near future?
I think an album is obviously next, I mean I’ve been telling everyone that for like seven years now, but I think definitely the album is closer than it was. I’ve got it and I’ve written it but its about the right timing and picking the right songs. I’ve got about 200 songs I need to get down to my favourite ten, but it is coming and hopefully it’s this year.